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Miami athletics has busy summer

Wayne Embry with his new likeness in front of Millett Hall
Wayne Embry with his new likeness in front of Millett Hall

While students were away from campus for the summer, the action continued for some of Miami’s athletes. Here’s a look at what Miami athletics was up to while you were away.

Embry gets statue in front of Millett Hall

Miami basketball legend Wayne Embry, class of ‘58, was given the ultimate honor by the university: a statue of his likeness outside Millett Hall. The statue depicted Embry shooting a hook shot, a staple of his game at Miami and during his 11-year NBA career.

Embry was honored in a statue-unveiling ceremony outside Millett Hall on May 18, at 11 a.m. In attendance were Embry’s college teammates and other current and former RedHawk athletes, as well as other members of the general public. The event was called ‘Wayne Embry Day.’

Embry was also receiving the Freedom Summer of ‘64 Award. Beginning in 2018, the award is given by Miami to a person or group of people who exemplify civil rights and social justice. The first Freedom Summer of ‘64 Award was given to civil rights icon and U.S. representative John Lewis (D-Georgia). This year’s award was jointly given to Embry and his wife, Theresa (class of ‘60), who passed away last August. 

Photo by Zach Reichman | The Miami Student

Junior pitcher Sam Bachman might be selected in the first round of the MLB draft this July

Sam Bachman selected in first round of MLB Draft

Three Miami baseball players moved on to the professional ranks this summer. 

Pitcher Sam Bachman made school history when he was drafted ninth overall in the 2021 MLB draft by the Los Angeles Angels. Bachman is the first player ever to be selected in the first round of the MLB first-year player draft out of Miami University.

Bachman was dominant during his senior season. Over 59.2 innings of work, the righty recorded an ERA of 1.81 and struck out 93 batters while only walking 17. Bachman signed with the Angels for a bonus of $3,847,500 and has already started his professional career with the High-A Tri City Dust Devils. In his first appearance, Bachman pitched two innings and struck out two without allowing a run.

Jacob Webb, a right handed pitcher, was selected in the 14th round of the same draft by the Boston Red Sox. Webb started his college career at local Sinclair Community college in Dayton and transferred to Miami before the 2020 season. In 2021, Webb appeared 18 times in relief and pitched to a 2.08 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 39 innings pitched.

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Grant Hartwig — another right handed pitcher — signed a contract with the New York Mets after the draft. Hartwig started 11 games and appeared in three more as a reliever during his senior season at Miami, pitching to a 3.44 ERA in 73.1 innings. He struck out 82 and only surrendered 11 walks in 2021. 

Photo by Zach Reichman | The Miami Student

Olivia Bechtel placed 14th out of 24 runners in the 400-meter dash Olympic trials semifinal.

Miami track stars shine

Finley McLear and Olivia Bechtel both had busy summers after their teammates went home. McLear, a junior with three years of eligibility remaining, qualified for the NCAA Outdoor National Championship in Eugene, Ore., as did the recently-graduated Bechtel. McLear ran in the 800-meter dash, while Bechtel competed in the 400-meter dash. 

While Bechtel failed to qualify for the final round in her event, McLear shined. The England native had the second-best time in the semifinals, then finished fourth in the final round with a time of 1:45:80.

After the NCAA Championships, the pair competed for Olympic spots for their respective countries. Bechtel stayed in Eugene to run the 400-meter dash in the U.S. Olympic trials. She made it to the semifinals and placed 14th out of 24 runners, failing to qualify for the final round.

After his strong finish in Eugene, McLear headed to Manchester, England, to compete in the Muller British Athletics Championships. Running in the 800-meter dash, he could’ve sealed a spot on the British Olympic Squad with a second-place finish, but only finished seventh out of eight competitors.

Softball makes NCAA Regionals appearance

After Miami’s 2020 season was cancelled in March due to COVID-19, the RedHawks quickly made up for lost time in 2021. The team won a program-record 46 games, including a 20-game win streak in the middle of the season. Miami led the entire nation in doubles with 116.

The effort was good enough to earn a berth to the NCAA Softball Tournament in late May as the lone Mid-American Conference (MAC) team. 

The RedHawks were placed in the Lexington Regional, along with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Northwestern Wildcats and Kentucky Wildcats.

Their first matchup was against Notre Dame on May 21. The score was close throughout the game, but Miami couldn’t prevail against the Fighting Irish. The RedHawks struck first with two runs in the top of the fourth inning, but Notre Dame answered with a 3-run home run in the bottom of the inning. The final score was 3-2.

Since the tournament was double elimination, the ’Hawks got to face Northwestern the next day. The Wildcats easily beat Miami, 7-1.